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American Express: The 10 Best Credit Cards for Military Members [2024]

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Carissa Rawson

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Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business ...
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When I joined the military I had absolutely no idea about life, credit cards, or cooking. Although I still can’t cook, a decade later and I’ve figured out a few things about life. As for credit cards? Don’t even ask me how many I’ve got.

I first began learning about points and miles while I was still active duty, and I quickly realized that, while banks such as Chase and Citi all grant perks to service members, nobody matches the benefits that American Express offers to all active-duty military members.

In this guide, we’re going to break down all the best credit cards American Express has for its customers, what they offer, and why you should get them. What’s stopping you?

Which Credit Cards Won’t Charge Annual Fees for Military Members?

Everyone hates annual fees. It’s a given. Luckily for service members, all the major banks won’t charge annual fees for their credit cards. Chase, Citi, Capital One, and American Express all won’t charge their fees as a matter of course. Discover, meanwhile, only offers no-additional fee credit cards, but has gone an extra step and capped the interest rate on its credit cards to 5.9%, which is exorbitantly generous.

How To Request Benefits (Do This After You’re Approved)

Log into your Amex Platinum card account online and then select Account Services at the top of the page. From there, select Credit Management and choose SCRA Benefits.

You can upload any requested information after answering a few questions.

Additionally, you can request benefits via the following methods:

  • Phone: Call 800-253-1720 from the U.S. or call 336-393-1111 collect from outside of the U.S.
  • Fax: Fax the required documents to 623-444-3000 and include your American Express account numbers
  • Mail: Mail documents with your account numbers to American Express, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, P.O. Box 981535, El Paso, TX 79998-1535

Amex will verify your information and subsequently process the benefit, which can take up to a few weeks. You can also check your eligibility before you apply for the card here.

Why Is American Express the Best for Military Members?

So it’s true that American Express will not charge annual fees for military members on its consumer cards. That’s good, but what really makes American Express stand out as the best option is the sheer volume of high-end credit and charge cards it offers.

Of course, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is renowned for its bonus categories and the Citi Prestige® Card is excellent for offering a fourth-night free on hotel stays, but these cards are the outliers for these banks, which focus more on mid-level cards such as The World of Hyatt Credit Card or the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card. Both of these cards provide reasonable benefits for their sub-$100 annual fee, but can’t compare to Amex’s offerings.

We’ve already mentioned the Amex Platinum card, but did you know there are other variants of the Amex Platinum card?

The American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab* offers all of the same benefits as the regular Amex Platinum card in addition to its perks, while The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley* has the same features but can even put some cash directly into your pocket. There’s also the American Express® Gold Card, a green card, a blue card, and even a black card. There’s a veritable rainbow of cards.

*All information about these cards have been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

Amex’s advantage doesn’t stop at its own cards, though. Thanks to its excellent partnerships, American Express also offers co-branded credit cards from Delta, Hilton, and Marriott. Each of these, in turn, offers several different levels of benefits depending on how much of an annual fee you’ll tolerate.

Unless you’re an active-duty service member, that is.

Having all Amex annual fees removed unlocks the most premium of credit cards to all soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. These cards are on an entirely different level, offering thousands of dollars per year in statement credits, top-tier elite status, free companion flights on first class tickets, and annual free nights at prestigious hotels. American Express also does not charge late fees, over-limit fees, returned payment fees, and statement copy request fees for active-duty military.

How Many American Express Cards Can You Have?

Like all banks, Amex limits the number of cards each member can hold at once. For Amex, this means you can hold up to 4 credit cards and 10 charge cards. These numbers include both personal and business cards.

What’s the difference between a credit and a charge card? A credit card, like the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, has a fixed credit limit. Once you’ve maxed it out, that’s it. You’re able to pay off a credit card over many months, though you’ll be on the hook for any interest you incur.

Now, let’s take a look at all the best cards for the military that American Express has to offer.

The 7 Best Personal American Express Cards for Military Members

Amex Platinum Card (Top Pick – Best for Worldwide Lounge Access, Premium Benefits & Perks)

This is probably the most obvious card choice for people, and for good reason. If you’re only looking to get one card (which you shouldn’t — take advantage of all those benefits!), then the Amex Platinum card is your best bet. Why? Because it offers a whole host of perks across for airlines, hotels, shopping, and even rideshare programs. This includes statement credits, elite status, and lounge access, all in a single card.

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
$1,760
$695
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits including best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros
  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Amex Platinum Card Annual Benefits

These reset each calendar year. Be aware that some are annual while others are biannual or even monthly, so you’ll need to make sure you spend them before time runs out. Terms apply and enrollment may be required, so be sure to check your American Express account!

  • Up to $200 Hotel Credit  in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through AmexTravel.com when you pay with your card.
  • Up to $240 Digital Entertainment Credit (up to $20 back each month) on eligible purchases made with your card on one or more of the following: Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • Up to $300 Equinox Credit on the Equinox+ digital fitness app or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your card. Enrollment required.
  • Up to $189 CLEAR Plus Credit when paying with your card get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR Plus membership.
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit covers incidentals like seat upgrades, checked baggage, and paid lounge access
  • Up to $200 Uber Cash offered at $15 each month, with an additional $20 bonus offered in December for a total of $35
  • Up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit issued as a $50 statement credit every 6 months
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck credit valid once every 5 years
  • Up to $155 annual Walmart+ Credit pays for your monthly Walmart+ membership, which includes discounts on gas and free shipping, among other benefits.

As you can see, right out the gate you’re eligible to receive $500 in value each year, with an additional $85 to $100 once every 5 years, all for nothing out of pocket.

Additional Amex Platinum Card Benefits

While statement credits are nice, the Amex Platinum card also offers tons more benefits, and while there is no direct cash comparison for these, depending on how often you use them you could find yourself with hundreds of dollars in perks. Even if you’re not interested in the reward travel game, points can be redeemed for things like cash and gift cards, though they’re most valuable when transferred to an Amex transfer partner and used for travel. Throw in elite status and lounge access, and this card becomes invaluable:

  • Accelerated Points Earning — Earn 5x points on flights booked directly with an airline or via AmexTravel.com, 5x points on prepaid hotels via AmexTravel.com, and 1x point on everything else.
  • Global Lounge Access — Access over 1,400 lounges around the world, including Centurion Lounges that feature amenities like free massages and wine tastings.
  • Hilton Honors Gold Elite Status — Receive free breakfast, room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, and increased earnings on bonus points, among other benefits.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status — Get early check-in, late checkout, room upgrades, and increased earnings on bonus points, in addition to other benefits.
  • Rental Car Elite Status — Enjoy status with National, Hertz, and Avis that entitles you to discounts, car upgrades, and waived fees, though these vary by company.
  • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts and the Hotel Collection — When booked with AmexTravel.com, you’ll earn 5x points on your hotel stay and receive perks such as a $100 food and beverage credit on your stay, third-night free on your bookings, free breakfast, room upgrades, and more.

Bottom Line: Our complete guide to American Express Platinum military benefits for active-duty members details the thousands of dollars you could enjoy in complimentary benefits.

Amex Schwab Platinum Card (Best for Charles Schwab Account Holders)

While you need to have a Charles Schwab account to qualify for this card, it’s easy to sign up. This version of the Amex Platinum card has all the same benefits as the regular Amex Platinum card that we’ve outlined above — with 1 big caveat.

Unlike the plain Amex Platinum card, you can cash out your Membership Rewards points at a rate of 1.1 cents per point directly to your bank account. This is especially valuable if you’re not interested in award travel, as you won’t need to redeem points against any purchases or waste them on gift cards.

Check out how this card compares to the regular Amex Platinum card in our head-to-head matchup.

Amex Platinum Card for Morgan Stanley (Best for Morgan Stanley Cash Plus Account Holders)

If you can swing it, the Amex Platinum card for Morgan Stanley is potentially one of the most valuable cards you can have. That’s because, in addition to the benefits of the standard Amex Platinum card, those who open a Morgan Stanley Cash Plus account receive a $550 engagement bonus each year. This would normally cover most of the annual fee of the Amex Platinum card, but with yours not charged, that money goes directly into your pocket.

Be aware, however, that the Cash Plus account carries a $45 monthly fee unless you meet certain qualifications: $5,000 in monthly transfers and a $25,000 average cash balance. That’s pretty steep, but Morgan Stanley broadly defines monthly transfers to include Zelle deposits and mobile checks, which makes the $5,000 per month feasible.

Bottom Line: If you can otherwise afford to keep an average of $25,000 in your account, you’ll get yourself $550 each year in addition to the thousands of dollars of regular Amex Platinum card benefits and a free authorized user — something else no other Amex Platinum card offers.

Hilton Aspire Card (Best for Hilton Loyalists)

Perhaps one of our favorite cards, the Hilton Aspire card offers top-tier Diamond elite status simply for being a cardholder. You won’t find that with other competitors such as Marriott, IHG, or Hyatt, all of which offer mid-level status on their own co-branded credit cards. That’s not all, though. The Hilton Aspire card features benefits that can be worth thousands of dollars each year.

LIMITED TIME OFFER
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Automatic Hilton Diamond status, an annual free night, and a travel and resort credit make this the perfect card for those who stay in Hilton hotels.

All information about Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Automatic Hilton Diamond status, an annual free night, and a travel and resort credit make this the perfect card for those who stay in Hilton hotels.
Earn 175,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 7/31/2024.
175,000 points
$875
$550
20.99% - 29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.


Paying hundreds of dollars for an annual fee on a co-branded hotel card might seem ridiculous, but you should know that the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is much more than your run-of-the-mill hotel credit card.

The Hilton Aspire card is not only a phenomenal card for Hilton Honors loyalists, but even those who visit Hilton hotels just a few times a year can still get excellent value out of all the benefits that are packed into this card.

So let’s have a look at what makes the card so valuable to travelers.

Pros
  • 14x points per $1 on Hilton purchases
  • 7x points per $1 on select travel and at U.S. restaurants
  • 3x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
    • High annual fee of $550
  • Earn 175,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 7/31/2024.
  • Earn 14x Hilton Honors Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies, and at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for other purchases on your card.
  • Enjoy up to $400 in Hilton Resort Credits (up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually) on your card each anniversary year when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status.
  • $550 annual fee.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Hilton Aspire Card Annual Benefits

Unlike the Amex Platinum card, the Hilton Aspire card’s benefits are all annual:

  • Up to $200 airline credit on any airline or through AmexTravel.com (up to $50 per quarter)
  • Up to $400 Hilton resort credit that can be used for incidentals or room rates at any of Hilton’s participating resorts (advanced purchase and non-refundable room rates don’t qualify); based on your cardmember anniversary (up to $200 semi-annually)
  • Free night certificate valid at nearly any Hilton property; based on your cardmember anniversary

In case we haven’t hammered this home enough, all of the Hilton Aspire card benefits come via a credit card whose annual fee is not charged for active-duty service members. That means that the $600 in direct credits and free night certificate — redeemable at properties like the Waldorf Astoria Maldives, where room rates can cost more than $2,000 per night— will cost you nothing out of pocket.

Additional Hilton Aspire Card Benefits

  • Hilton Honors Diamond Status — You’ll enjoy room upgrades (including suites), early-check in, late checkout, free breakfast, increased earnings on bonus points, and executive lounge access.
  • Additional Free Night Certificate — Earn a second free night certificate by spending $30,000 in a calendar year and $60,000 in a calendar year.
  • $100 On-Property Credit — Use this credit on incidentals when you book a 2-night paid stay at either Waldorf Astoria or Conrad properties.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card (Best for Marriott Loyalists)

The Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program has gone through some pretty significant changes in recent years as the company has done its best to integrate the Starwood Preferred Guest program with its own. When all the dust settled, one of the best things to come out of the fray was the debut of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, whose usually hefty annual fee comes with some major Marriott perks.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
95,000 bonus points
$665
$650
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.

So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?

Pros
  • 6x points per $1 at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 3x points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines and restaurants worldwide
  • 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • $300 Brilliant Dining Credit: Each calendar year, get up to $300 (up to $25 per month) in statement credits for eligible purchases made on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card at restaurants worldwide.
  • With Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you can receive room upgrades, including enhanced views or suites, when available at select properties and booked with a Qualifying Rate.
  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you will be eligible to select a Brilliant Earned Choice Award benefit. You can only earn one Earned Choice Award per calendar year. See https://www.choice-benefit.marriott.com/brilliant for Award options.
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass™ Select, which offers unlimited airport lounge visits to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • With Cell Phone Protection, you can be reimbursed, the lesser of, your repair or replacement costs following damage, such as a cracked screen, or theft for a maximum of $800 per claim when your cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month's wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account. A $50 deductible will apply to each approved claim with a limit of 2 approved claims per 12-month period. Additional terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Annual Benefits

  • Free night certificate usable any night of the week at properties up to 85,000 points; can be used for hundreds of dollars in value
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit valid once every 4 years

That makes both of these benefits extremely valuable and well-worth the annual-fee-removed slot in your wallet.

Additional Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Benefits

  • Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status — You’ll get late checkout, room upgrades, and increased earnings on bonus points, in addition to other benefits.
  • $100 On-Property Credit — When booking a paid stay of at least 2 nights at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties, you’ll receive a $100 credit for incidentals that can be used for things like food, drinks, and spa services.
  • Priority Pass Membership — You and 2 guests can access airport lounges around the world, with additional guests costing $32 each.
  • Elite Night Credits — Receive 25 elite night credits each year to help accelerate your track to a higher status.
  • $300 Annual Dining Credit — Receive a credit of up to $25 each month for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.

Hot Tip: You don’t have to just redeem your points for hotel stays — Marriott Bonvoy has over 40 airline transfer partners! Check out our guide to the best ways to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points for flights.

Delta Reserve Card (Best for Frequent Delta Flyers Who Want Lounge Access)

While the Delta Reserve card isn’t as generous with its credits as Amex’s co-branded hotel cards, the card does offer some serious perks. Its main one? A companion certificate on domestic flights that’ll allow you to bring someone for just the taxes and fees.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Delta loyalists will love the fast track to Delta elite status, lounge access, baggage benefits, and upgrade priority with the Delta Reserve card.

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta loyalists will love the fast track to Delta elite status, lounge access, baggage benefits, and upgrade priority with the Delta Reserve card.
Earn 95,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
95,000 Bonus Miles
$1,140
$650
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a stellar option for frequent travelers who always fly with Delta thanks to its lounge access, status boost, annual companion certificate, and many other great benefits.

Here is a full look at everything the Delta Reserve card can offer to you to help you decide whether the card deserves a place in your wallet.

Pros
  • 3x SkyMiles per $1 on Delta purchases
  • 1x SkyMile per $1 on all other eligible purchases
  • Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights.
Cons
  • $650 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • No bonus categories other than Delta purchases
  • Earn 95,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club® and bring up to two guests or immediate family members at a rate of $50 per person per visit when flying Delta. Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • Receive four Delta Sky Club® One-Time Guest Passes each year when you fly together on Delta. After that, you may bring up to two guests at a per-visit rate of $50 per person, per location.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • Earn $1 Medallion® Qualification Dollar for each $10 of purchases made on your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving elevated Medallion Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on First Class, Delta Comfort+®, or Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights each year after renewal of your Card. The Companion Ticket requires payment of government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • $240 Resy Credit: With the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Resy Credit, earn up to $20 per month in statement credits on eligible Resy purchases using your enrolled Card.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: You can earn up to $10 back in statement credits each month on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers after you pay with your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Enrollment Required.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • With your Card receive upgrade priority over other Medallion Members within the same Medallion level and fare class.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Delta SkyMiles Airline Loyalty Program

Delta Reserve Card Annual Benefits

  • Companion certificate issued after your account anniversary each year, valid for round-trip domestic, Caribbean, and Central America travel
  • 2 Delta Sky Club guest passes issued when opening the card and reissued each year after account renewal, making them a great addition to your companion certificate.*
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit valid once every 4 years for Global Entry or every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck

Depending on how you use the companion certificate, it can easily net you a thousand dollars in savings (especially on those pricey transcontinental flights), though you’ll still need to pay your own fare.

Additional Delta Reserve Card Benefits

  • Delta Sky Club Access — You and any authorized users can access the Sky Club and Centurion Lounges on same-day Delta flights*
  • Annual Statement Credits — Enrollment required for an annual up to $240 Resy credit, up to $120 U.S. ride-share credit, and $200 Delta Stays credit
  • First Checked Bag Free — This benefit is valid for you and up to 8 companions on your reservation.
  • Priority Boarding — You and 8 companions get priority boarding
  • Upgrade List — This is especially valuable if you’re not an elite member because as a cardholder you’ll still be added to the complimentary upgrade list.
  • Discount on Delta Purchases — Save 20% on prepurchased and inflight food, drinks, and headsets for your Delta flight.
  • Earn Medallion Qualifying Dollars — If you’re chasing elite status, you can earn 2,500 MQDs every qualification year. Plus, you’ll earn $1 Medallion Qualification Dollar for each $10 of purchases made on your card in a calendar year.

*Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.

Amex Gold Card (Best for Earning Points on Dining & U.S. Supermarkets)

Although less famous than its Platinum counterparts, the Amex Gold card offers its own slew of benefits that make it worth having. Notably, it offers a best-in-class bonus category for grocery purchases, which puts this firmly into the must-own for any family. It also boasts 4x bonus points at restaurants, a feature beaten only by the Citi Prestige card. Combined, the ability to stack up points on these common purchases makes this card essential in your everyday wallet.

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

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American Express® Gold Card
This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros
  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Amex Gold Card Annual Benefits

  • Up to $120 dining credit valid for $10 each month when used at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.

The Amex Gold card isn’t quite as flashy as others, but the dining credit makes for a nice perk on those days you can’t be bothered to cook.

Additional Amex Gold Card Benefits

  • 4x bonus points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets for the first $25,000 each year, then 1x points
  • 4x points at restaurants and 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline or via AmexTravel.com
  • Access to the Hotel Collection

Final Thoughts

Are you in the military? Do you like money? Then there is absolutely no reason for you to skip out on Amex’s credit card offerings. With a vast array of premium cards, you’ll be receiving thousands of dollars a year in direct credits, along with a vast swathe of benefits like free plane tickets, top-tier elite status, and free hotel stays. Don’t miss out!

The information for the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy American Express® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best credit card for military members?

If you’re looking for just 1 card, the Amex Platinum card is the best credit card for military members as eligible military members won’t be charged the annual fee.

Is the Amex Platinum card free for military?

Yes! All of Amex’s cards are free for the military.

What is the max APR for military members?

Legally, the max APR that banks can charge for credit cards acquired after entering service is 36%. Discover, however, caps all its cards at 5.9%.

Are credit card annual fees waived for veterans?

While banks are generous in not charging the annual fees for credit cards for active-duty service members, those benefits unfortunately are not extended to veterans. Once you leave service banks will begin charging you the annual fees for each card. Check out the best credit cards for military veterans.

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About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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